Woman ‘imprisoned and forced to drink vodka’

A woman allegedly imprisoned and forced to drink vodka was told it would be the last she ever took, the High Court heard on Wednesday.

Stephen Hughes is also accused of ripping open her sofa after claiming her house had listening devices and weapons hidden in it.

The 26-year-old, of Brownlow Terrace, Lurgan, denies charges of criminal damage, assault, attempted intimidation, threats to kill and false imprisonment.

His lawyer argued that the allegations were down to the woman having a “fixation” with him.

During a bail hearing the court was told she claimed Hughes had been drinking in her home at Princes Street in the town on 5 January.

Tessa Kitson, prosecuting, said: “He is alleged to have claimed that her house was bugged and there were weapons concealed in it.

“As a result of that he ripped open the bottom of her sofa.”

It was claimed that he pushed her onto a chair when she tried to intervene, and blocked her attempts to leave the house.

Mrs Kitson added: “It is alleged that he tried to force her to drink vodka, telling her it would be the last vodka she ever drinks.”

Hughes was also accused of warning the woman: “I will do you like I did Pip”, an alleged reference to a previous incident.

According to the prosecution he told her he would let her go if she got a cousin in Galway to provide an alibi for other matters.

Defence barrister Tony Lunny confirmed his client denies even being in the woman’s home that day. He told the court Hughes believes the woman was fixated on the pair becoming romantically involved.

“The applicant did have a brief relationship with her but then he ended it and went back to his former girlfriend,” Mr Lunny said.

Adjourning the bail application to allow checks on another suggested residence for the accused, Mr Justice Horner stressed: “I would only consider bail if there was a suitable alternative.”